To be a writer is a dream; to fulfil that dream takes perseverance and hard work. A gift for words needs nurturing; it also needs technical perfection, continual practice and a great deal of market study to see those words in print. If you want to be a writer, the responsibility to achieve that goal is yours. And, of course, a lashing of luck helps!
Short stories are an exciting challenge, trying to catch the reader’s imagination with a character whose life is changed in some way in so few words. They are but a glimpse into another’s world, provoking thought and emotion.
I have always loved the short story, reading a variety of magazines, popular and small press, to which I eventually contributed. As life progressed, so my markets expanded and, although time was sometimes scarce, the short story form continued to fascinate.
I decided to be a writer at the age of eleven. I bought a blue file and boldly labelled it My Book – a collection of short stories, and wrote my first short story, a tragedy about a rabbit in a thunderstorm. This was the beginning of my dream. It was to be many years before my dream was realised!
I left school, entered the Civil Service and it wasn’t until I was married with two babies that my dream to write short stories returned and, reading the true confessional magazines (not true in the sense of today’s exposés) I thought ‘I can do that’ and proceeded to do so. I was published! My folder, now somewhat tatty, was reinstated and my dream resurrected.
When my children were older I bought them magazines. Reading stories to them fired my creative juices and, in the evenings, I started to write children’s stories. My joy when I had an acceptance in a pre-school magazine knew no bounds. As the children grew, I studied their magazines and had occasional successes.
Over the years I continued writing rather erratically, parenthood and a career impinging regularly on my ‘writing time’. But I always managed a few hours now and then, somehow. I carried a pad in my handbag, made notes whenever an idea hit me and nurtured details in my head until such time I could spew the whole story onto paper. Along the pathway of those intervening years I attended creative writing courses, read numerous ‘how to’ books and honed my skills.
Markets changed, computers and the Internet exploded. Writing competitions abounded and small press magazines grew like mushrooms. Suddenly there were new markets. I could write what I liked, without the restrictions so many magazines imposed. I gloried in this new freedom and concentrated more on the content that I loved, supernatural, slice of life, humour, crime and finally, several years on, I had enough stories in my blue folder to make a book.
Today I have had over 90 short stories published in a variety of magazines and online, and won awards in competitions. I have also had two novellas published in large print, available in libraries: Chase a Rainbow and Winds of Change.
But nothing can match the joy of attaining my childhood dream when, eventually, a small press agreed to publish my collection, Destiny’s Footprints.
To anyone who dreams of being a short story writer I say: ‘Don’t give up the day job but don’t give up on your dream either!’
For more details see my website: www.faywentworth.wordpress.com
Destiny’s Footprints is now available from bookshops, price £6, or direct from the publisher at www.butford.co.uk